Jersey club–aka the harder and heavier cousin of Baltimore's groundbreaking and iconic club music sound–is on fire. DJ Sliink is running the festivals with trap-tinged club anthems, Nadus has the underground and Europe on lock with footwork-leaning club tracks like "Nxwxrk," and insofar as radio-friendly club pop? Well, Sliink's Cartel Music affiliate, DJ Fire (alongside rapper Dougie F) has that under control with sensual and viral-spreading club anthem "Back Up On It (Jasmine)." The booty-shaking DJ Mustard production-feeling track is a co-release by Sliink's Cartel Music and Mad Decent, and it's bounded from out of the clubs of The Oranges, New Jersey to New York's Hot 97, Power 105 and Sway in the Morning. Impressively, it could even now be considered a nationwide underground phenomenon. With two Mad Decent Block Parties and a Trillectro performance behind them, and a west coast radio push, Fool's Gold tour shots and a Mad Decent Boat Party appearance planned in the future, club music's largest national spread to-date shows no signs of stopping for the Jersey-based duo.
In this interview for DAD, Dougie F and DJ Fire discuss the "feel" of Jersey club music, the vibe in the streets of the Garden State (and its burgeoning club music movement) and more, including thoughts regarding the forthcoming Lil Internet-directed clip for the track itself. Enjoy!
Obviously, first things first. Who's "Jasmine?"
DJ Fire: Jasmine is a common name that we mutually agreed upon. There's a lot of girls named Jasmine. The other option was Ashley, I think. (laughs)
When did the concept come together for the track, and how did you two combine?
DJ Fire: Dougie called me one day and asked me if I had made any new beats. I told him I had one, and to come over. Within an hour, he was over, and it was on! [Dougie said], "this is it!" I thought he was going to do the typical "rap a few bars," but he had verses and a hook! We worked on it, and it was a few months before we put the track out on our own. We let a few people hear it, I played it out a lot, and then it took off.
Dougie F: At first, I wasn't a big fan of rapping on club music, because it's not exactly the best way to go. But, the first time I heard it out was at this club called V.I.P. in Orange [New Jersey], and everyone loved it. Once the song got to DJs, they started playing it a lot.
Your thoughts about the live reactions to this track. There's word that social media has been going crazy about it, and the viral spread has been big!
DJ Fire: I was surprised by the reaction, and the DJs playing it everywhere. Even now, videos of the "butt dances" are viral [on YouTube], plus when it's played at the college parties, all of the frats doing dances to it.
You've gotten love from mainstream New York radio for the single, with Hot 97, Power 105, and Sway in the Morning over at Sirius' Shade 45 showing love. Thoughts about the first moment when you heard the track on Hot 97?
DJ Fire: I did a big showcase and passed it on to a few DJs and I was in a McDonald's parking lot on February 6 and Dougie called me and said "turn on the radio right now!" I said "Word" and I heard it on the radio. When that happened, ever since then "Jasmine" has been on Hot 97 and Power 105 (in New York City). Now it's just everywhere.
Cartel Music is DJ Sliink's crew, so I wanted to ask how long both of you have known Sliink, and how did being affiliated with him come about?
Dougie F: Fire has a history with DJ Sliink. I always heard his name when club music was brought up, and I met him a few months before the song was re-released at a bowling alley in Jersey. We linked up on Twitter, met at the bowling alley, and then the next day he was headed overseas for a tour. From there, we went to the Moodswing management offices, and that's the first time I played [the Moodswing team] the record [too].
DJ Fire: I grew up [with Sliink]. Me, him, Big O, Jay Hood, it was a bunch of us. I knew him for years, before everybody got big or whatever. I've been a part of Cartel for years, man...years...
I wanted to ask both of your thoughts about the growth and spread of Jersey club not just in Jersey, but as a pop sound, as well as playing major festivals. The vibe right now has to be crazy, right?
Dougie F: I think [club music] is great because it lets you take an open approach, and not really think too much about what you're creating. As a child I bought club music CDs in the streets, and my parents played them, so it's a part of the culture.
DJ Fire: The first festivals we did were the Mad Decent Block Parties in Philadelphia and New York. Those experiences were a big shock because we never performed in front of 10,000 or 17,000 people. That was a big thing. Trillectro added to it, and to be from Jersey and to see people embrace it [in DC] on a brand new platform [was great]. We're going to try to make it bigger and better by getting the song out there. It's on iTunes now, we had 200,000 plays in the first week on Mad Decent's SoundCloud, and the comments have been positive like, "ohhh, wow! Diplo, you released this?" It's been very positive.
It's a cool feeling. Honestly, to get love and to be supported [within Jersey] is rare. To see everybody supporting you and in your court is a dope feeling. To have some people reach out is crazy because everybody's trying to do Jersey club now, and they can't really do it because of the vibe and the culture. They can copy the drum patterns, but they can't copy the culture.
What is the vibe of Jersey club? As you said, there are certainly producers and artists worldwide who are now attempting to claim the sound, but I must ask, what does Jersey club feel like to you, and can that be copied on a record by a non-New Jersey based artist?
DJ Fire: It's hard. Let me think. The vibe will always be hype, high energy, dirty and hard hitting bass. It's hard to describe, but, it's like, if you play Jersey club in a room where everybody is sitting down, you put on club and everybody gets into the mood to dance. It's hard to put into words. Come to Jersey, come to a party, you'll see it. You can tell when you put on the actual authentic Jersey versus something that's not authentic Jersey because it doesn't have that dirty feeling to it. You know, [the non-Jersey sound] it's too clean. Jersey club isn't about being clean, it's about getting dirty, having fun and dancing, the girls backing it up. You have to come here and see for yourself.
So, for both of you. There are people who compare "Back Up On It" to (2009 hit single) "I'm the Shit" by Baltimore's DJ Class. So, for Dougie, how would you feel if a Kanye West or Trey Songz hopped on this one? Actually, which rapper would you not mind hearing on here, too? Also, for DJ Fire, have any of the club OGs reached out for support on this one? There's a cool line here now from them to you as far as getting to the mainstream with club music.
Dougie F: I don't know if I want to hear another rapper on it! I wouldn't mind it, but, I had in mind a female artist, you know, like Rihanna to talk about it from her perspective.
DJ Fire: DJ Tameil and Tim Dolla have been supportive. They were the first ones to bring the Baltimore sound up to Jersey. Tim Dolla has been on board for awhile now and plays Jasmine all of the time.
So, everyone got it twisted and thought that the Mad Decent-released "teaser" clip was the actual "Jasmine" video. I hear that an actual video is forthcoming, though. Any news?
DJ Fire: Yes, the video was shot by LILINTERNET, and should be out soon. It was filmed at our houses and in our neighborhoods. We have our friends in it, along with dancers and twerkers, too.
Dougie F: Everybody's in it, too. DJ Wonder from Sway in the Morning, [fellow Moodswing represented act] Solidisco, Dirty South Joe, Swizzymack, there's a lot of people in it. I can't wait for people to see the video. It adds so much more energy and feeling to the song.
At the end of August, DJ Fire hit Diplo & Friends with a special guest mix. He didn't hold back, not only kicking things off with "Back Up On It (Jasmine)," but dropping a number of his own bootlegs and remixes, as well as mixing things up into a club-rocking package full of Jersey bangers, R&B cuts, and other surprises. Shouts to Dougie F and DJ Fire for the interview, and for the premiere of DJ Fire's exclusive mix for Diplo & Friends.
Dougie F & DJ Fire - Jasmine (Mad Decent)
Beyonce - Drunk In Love (DJ Fire Remix)
Trey Songz - Nana (DJ Sliink Remix)
Rico Love - They Don’t Know (DJ Fire Remix)
Calvin Harris - Summer (DJ Fire Remix)
Destiny's Child - Say My Name (Cosmo’s Midnight Bootleg)
Jeremih - Don’t Tell Em
Jason Derulo & Snoop Dog - Wiggle (TWRK Remix)
Tinashe - 2 On (Four Color Zack)
Party Favor & Meaux Green - G String
AlunaGeorge - You Know Like It (DJ Snake Remix - Enferno Slow Down Bootleg)
D!rty Aud!o, Mr. ColliPark & Ying Yang Twins - Reverse
Autoee & 4B - Bukem
4B - Drop It Again
Tujamo - Hey Mister
Gregor Salto & Wiwek - On Your Mark
Snappy Jit - Bumpa
Chris Brown - Loyal (DJ Sliink & Trippy Truttle Remix)
Disclosure & Sam Smith - Latch (DJ Fire Bootleg)
Sevyen Street - It Wont Stop (DJ Fire Remix)
Nadus - Nxwrk
Route 94 & Jess Glynne - My Love (Brenmar & J Heat Remix)
Ginuwine - Pony (eSenTRIK Remix)
Brenmar - Medusa
Miguel - Do You (Cashmere Cat Remix)
Dougie F & DJ Fire - Take Her Down